Consult your GP
Bloating can be caused by numerous factors including water retention and poor digestion. However, if you frequently suffer from chronic bloating you should visit your GP to discuss your symptoms and try to pinpoint a cause. As bloating can be a symptom of manageable conditions such as IBS or coeliac disease, as well as a reaction to certain medications, it is important to get an expert opinion.
Keep a food diary
If you tend to get bloated following meals, it could be that you are suffering from a food intolerance. It may be worth getting tested for food intolerances; however, experts are unsure of the effectiveness of these tests. The best thing is to keep a food diary, noting everything you eat as well as any signs of bloating, to help identify a link.
Take a probiotic
A healthy gut is packed with good bacteria which help to break down food and prevent yeast overgrowth. However, due to factors such as stress and medication (particularly antibiotics) levels of good bacteria can get low. When this happens, digestion and levels of yeast in the gut are affected, both of which can lead to bloating. To rectify this, try taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics can also be found in some yogurts, although dairy can be a cause of bloating for some.
Ironic as it may sound, staying well hydrated is one of the best ways to reduce the water retention which can lead to bloating. Furthermore, getting enough fluids can help you to improve your digestion and avoid constipation. Try to drink regularly throughout the day, opting for uncarbonated drinks such as water, peppermint or fennel tea.
Avoid gas-inducing foods
The leading cause of bloating is excess gas, so try to limit your intake of gas-inducing foods such as cabbage, sprouts, beans and grains. Also, avoid the sweeteners sorbitol and maltitol, try not to overdo your intake of fiber, and avoid chewing gum, which can exacerbate bloating. Try to also cut down on refined sugars, fermented products such as alcohol and cheese, and foods containing yeast, as these can cause yeast in the gut to thrive, which can lead to excess gas and bloating.
Concentrate on your meals
Many of us eat our meals on the go or while chatting with family and friends; however, taking more time over your meals and not talking while you eat could help reduce post-meal bloating. Eating too quickly and talking while eating can cause you to swallow air, leading to excess gas. Also, as digestion begins in the mouth, not chewing your food enough times can affect how well it is digested. It is also beneficial to eat little and often, as large meals can overload the digestive system.
Give your digestive system a helping hand
If you regularly feel bloated after meals, it may be that you have low levels of certain enzymes, meaning that foods are not being digested properly. To rectify this, try supplementing your meals with natural enzymes such as papain, bromelain or lactase which can help the digestive system to break down certain foods.
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